Jesse's Story: "Never Give Up"

Do you ever wonder how you're going to tackle the challenges in your life? You may change your outlook when you meet the teenager in this story.

Jesse Wagstaff of Cape Carteret was born with a rare medical condition. His mother was told he may live six months to a year.

Sixteen years later, Jesse wanted to tell his story so you'll see that anything is possible.

Jesse often writes inspirational messages on his Facebook page. Things like, "Life is good," "Laugh when you want to cry," and "Today is a great day."

When you meet this 16-year-old, you realize how truly special those posts and he are.

Jesse says, "I've been through a lot of bad things in my life and I thank God I'm living today."

Jesse was born with Metatrophic Dysplasia, an extremely rare form of dwarfism, with less than 100 known cases.

Jesse has a tracheotomy, is on a ventilator, oxygen and a feeding tube 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and only has the use of his hands. His mom describes the wheelchair, which he just got a couple of months ago, as a mini-mobile ICU. Jesse says it's a big improvement over the one he had that didn't allow him to sit up.

But that has never stopped him from enjoying life... whether it's a trip to the beach, visiting Disney World, attending a major league baseball game, feeding the horses, or heading out to talk about overcoming obstacles.

"One of the main things I like doing in my life is making a difference in people's lives," Jesse says.

It's probably clear by now that Jesse doesn't let his challenges get in the way of doing what he wants. In fact, he attends high school just like any other teenager.

Jesse rides the bus to and from school, and doesn't need any help zipping through the hallways at Croatan High School in Carteret Count.

Friend Jessica McCaw says "He's just really fun to be around. He just brightens up everybody's day. He's just one of those people that can do that."

Teacher Michael Grice says he works hard in all of his classes.

"It's just amazing to see the amount of work and caliber of work he's able to do."

Jesse is also active outside the classroom with school activities. He's been in the school play, has been a manager for the basketball team, and is a member of the group "Kids Against Bullying in Schools."

Victoria Kroll has known Jesse since elementary school. "I have my ups and downs, but to see what his obstacles and everything it makes it look like if he can get through it, I can get through it." McCaw says, "And he is an example for me because just because you have hard times in life doesn't mean you can't overcome them and do things." Grice says, "I think he's an inspiration to the teachers as well as the students."

And Jesse believes inspiring others is part of his purpose.

"Encouraging people not to give up," he says.

While Jesse says he has wondered sometimes why he has this rare condition, he doesn't question it.

"I know it's God's way of making me different because everybody's different."

And Jesse is proving everyday, whatever the challenge, it doesn't have to stop you. That's a spirit he lives by, and in the process, motivates and inspires others along the way.

Jesse has some words of advice: "Keep on trying. Never give up."

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Mary Ann Location: Leesburg, fl on Nov 1, 2011 at 09:13 AM
    Jesse, your an inspiration to all who have ever heard about you and the lucky ones who have met you. God Bless You!! Hugs from Susie's mom, Chelse,Courtney and Candace's grandmother.
  • by chelsea Location: swansboro NC on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:57 PM
    Jesse is cool i love talking to him he is really a nice kid he was great in the school play
  • by Taylor Location: Wright on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:54 AM
    Jesse, I am very proud of what you have become!! It takes a very special person to accomplish what you have accomplished. God did make you different and that is what makes you so special. I mean God gives us lots of tests through out our life, but your life is one big test to still believe in him. I know that he is looking down upon you being very proud of you. If there were more people that had the kind of heart that you do, the world would be so much better. To me the disorder that you have is not a disorder but a gift that makes you very special. You have gave me a much better lookout to the world and how lucky I am to what i have. Thank you for everything that you have done, and i know you can pass any test that is given even if its a test to see if you can survive. Well ill see you around. P.s. that was a really nice video!
  • by Emily on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM
    Jesse, you are amazing, and you inspire everyone who meets you. You have inspired me to wipe away the hard times, live each day to the fullest, and love every moment. Thanks!
  • by mitch Location: chs on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM
    great story jesse i know you are an inspiration to everyone. YOU DUH MAN JESS!!!
  • by K. Sieber Location: CHS on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM
    Jesse, I am so fortunate for the oppurtunity to spend each of the 5 days out of the school week with you here at Croatan. You are one of the bravest, and most positive person i have ever had the chance of being friends with. See you around the halls broskee.
  • by Melanie Location: CHS on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:49 AM
    Watching your interview innspired me. It made me want to better myself.You have an impact on everyone. Keep pushing and never give up.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:49 AM
    Jesse you inspire all of us to be better students and people! This interveiw was awesome! You are an inspiration
  • by Katie Location: CHS on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:48 AM
    Jesse, you have inspired me and others to push through the hard times no matter what they are! Keep up the good work!
  • by James Location: CHS on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:48 AM
    Jesse your story has inspired me to keep trying an to never give up on myself. and Your story made my day better man Keep doing wat u do. You Da man Jesse!

275 E. Arlington Blvd. Greenville, NC 27858 252-439-7777
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 132737293 -
Gray Television, Inc.